Tampa-based WellCare agrees to $137.5M settlement

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Tampa-based health care provider has agreed to pay $137.5 million to settle four lawsuits involving fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims in nine states.

The U.S. Attorney in Tampa announced the settlement Tuesday.

The suits claimed WellCare Health Plans Inc. falsely inflated the amount it claimed to be spending on medical care to avoid returning the money to Medicaid and other programs. The suits also accused the company of knowingly retaining overpayments received and falsifying data that misrepresented the medical conditions of patients and treatments they received.

WellCare will make fixed payments, plus interest, over three years to the federal government and to Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, and Ohio.

WellCare CEO Alec Cunningham says the company is pleased matters are fully resolved.